Many small financial advisory firms don’t have a Human Resources Department. So when it comes time to seek out, hire, train, and develop employees, those tasks usually fall to the owner. They must figure out where to find candidates, what to ask in an interview, how much to pay, how to set up a training plan, and how to keep them engaged and motivated. That research takes valuable time away from the owner’s other obligations and productivity.
Business growth is a never-ending, and ever-changing objective of all business owners; financial planners included. While the lingering social effects of the pandemic and the challenges of upscaling during the Great Resignation/ Reshuffle can make the task-at-hand seem insurmountable, there are still tangible ways that you can steer the course of your enterprise. Here are a few tips to help grow your financial planning business.
1. Invest in Human Capital
Most advisors have built their business from nothing into their single most valuable asset. Finding talent can be a challenge these days, especially with unemployment settling into lows not seen in over 50 years. Data from FP Transition's Valuation Database has indicated that businesses with multiple professionals accumulate assets at a higher rate than sole practitioners. As your business matures, it is imperative to invest in the next generation of talent, to keep the engine running while you begin to enjoy the reward for what you’ve built.
Topics: Acquisition, Multi-Generational Ownership, Business Growth, Tip of the Week, Revenue Strength, Enterprise Strength, Business Value, Buying & Selling, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Building Your Team, Client Trust, Business Operations, Trends
Finding and recruiting talented professionals can be time consuming and intimidating. In this industry, online job boards like Indeed and Monster are not all that relevant. There are many other - better - places to locate up-and-coming talent. Whether you’re looking to recruit experienced advisory professionals, or fresh, new graduates, the following are 11 places for sourcing the best talent.
Today’s Independent financial advisors face an endless array of challenges and opportunities. Identifying challenges before they arise is key for finding solutions and developing strategies for tackling the issues that present the greatest opportunities for improvement and growth.
The four biggest opportunities are:
- Balancing Growth and Profitability
- Recruiting and Retaining Talent
- Creating Business Sustainability
- Growth Through Mergers and Acquisitions
Balancing Growth and Profitability
Growth and profitability are inextricably linked and balancing the two within a single practice is the difference between building a one-generational practice and a multi-generational, sustainable enterprise.
Equity-based compensation provides an excellent solution for practice owners who need a reward system that goes beyond the traditional salary/bonus structure and shares the economic value of equity, but not equity itself.
A critical element in the success of any small business is its ability to recruit, reward, and retain talented advisors and support staff. To this end, equity compensation is often used to achieve these goals. Synthetic equity is a tool set that can provide ownership-level benefits without buying or selling actual stock in an advisory business.
To be clear, the process of transforming a single-owner practice into a sustainable business generally relies on equity. Equity, or stock, is what next-generation advisors invest in, and over time and with hard work benefit from, above and beyond what compensation alone can provide. Equity is the shareholder value created in a business managed from a bottom-line up perspective with a focus on earnings or profits as the ultimate financial goal. Equity is a powerful building and motivational tool, but with the opportunities come obligations. Because of these obligations, buying or selling equity isn’t the only way to offer key employees ownership-like benefits, nor is it always the best option.
“Instead of focusing on the circumstances that you cannot change—focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” –Joy Page
One of my favorite movies of all time is Casablanca. This 1942 American romantic drama is revered for its cinematic quality, lead characters, fantastic writing, and pervasive theme song “As Time Goes By.” It is set in a time of war, upheaval, and great uncertainty; in fact, the movie is the perfect foil for the underlying message that we control our fate through direct action. There are many scenes that highlight that message, but Joy Page was a part of one particular scene that foreshadows the ending of the movie and reinforces her thoughts as expressed above.
In this scene, Humphrey Bogart, playing the lead character Rick Blaine, tells the husband of a newly-wed Romanian couple to make a bet on the roulette table at Rick’s Café Américain casino. To summate the plot line, earlier in the movie, Rick had turned down helping the newly-wed wife played by Joy Page citing that he helps no one to avoid the suspicion of the Vichy police.
As the plot line continues, Rick has a change of heart and whispers in the husband’s ear to make a risky bet on the rigged roulette table. With a little help, the husband wins enough money to buy a passage out of Casablanca for himself and his new wife. The action that Rick takes in this scene foreshadows his later actions that free Victor Laszlo and his wife, Ilsa Lund, from the Germans and Vichy Police in Casablanca. The rest is cinematic history.
In times of uncertainty, it is always wise to focus on what you directly control, as pointed out by Ms. Page’s quote. Whether we look at current politics, markets, regulation, news, or the current state of the financial services industry, there have been (and always will be) many events outside of your control as a practice owner that affect your work. How do you deal with this constant noise? Recognize it for what it is and focus on the things you can control with direct action.
Building a sustainable business requires reaching across the generation gap and tapping into the energy and talent of younger professionals.
Today’s independent financial advisors face an endless array of opportunities (and challenges). The key is to identify impediments before they arise and to develop strategies for tackling the issues that present the greatest opportunities for improvement and growth.
There are four main challenges essential to the success of your business:
In this Roundtable Talk, the next-generation ownership of FP Transitions discuss their own experiences in taking the mantle to shape the team and future of the business. They explore hiring for cultural fit and potential value, the definition of “ownership mentality,” and how they might identify potential G3 leaders in the generation beyond their own.
In the October 2019 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, FP Transitions' Christine Sjölin, VP of Strategic Development and Operations, contributed her article "Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Ownership." The article discusses the importance–and challenge–of seeking out and recruiting next-generation talent in the financial services industry. Christine explores implementing internship opportunities to recruiting new advisors, strategies for talent retention, and how to incorporate ownership opportunities into your compensation structure.
Read her full article, "Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Ownership," now at onefpa.org